MANHATTAN, Kan. - For the second time in as many weeks, West Virginia's offense and defense conspired to produce no points and no answers to lose control of a game the Mountaineers could have won. They now find themselves two games under .500 as they try to reach a bowl for a 12th straight season.
Kansas State complicated that quest Saturday with 28 unanswered points in the second half and a 35-12 win before a crowd of 52,898 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
"That doesn't happen to a good team," Mountaineers Coach Dana Holgorsen said.
Tyler Lockett's third touchdown reception of the game with 7:31 to go capped a scoring frenzy that saw three touchdowns on three drives and 11:49 of clock. Following an interception, John Hubert added a four-yard touchdown run with 21 seconds remaining.
After rotating with no success in the first half, the Wildcats found a quarterback and a lead late in the third quarter. Daniel Sams handled every snap on 14-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that ticked 8:24 off the clock. They converted third-and-6, third-and-11 and third-and-goal when WVU rushed just three defenders, but still let Lockett find the back line in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown and a 14-12 lead.
WVU punted and KSU drove for a touchdown again, this time following the other quarterback. Jake Waters, who starts for KSU, came into the game on third-and-10 and completed a 32-yard pass. He went to the sideline, but came back on third-and-6 and ran for 10 yards. Waters stayed in the game and finished the drive with a 30-yard touchdown to Tramaine Thompson with 11:11 left in the game.
WVU moved into KSU territory when quarterback Clint Trickett scrambled for seven yards on third-and-5, but lost a fumble when stripped by safety Ty Zimmerman. The Wildcats recovered at their 46-yard line.
On the play before, Trickett overthrew a receiver and was fortunate Zimmerman couldn't reach back and intercept the pass.
Waters was in the game again and was 4-for-4 on the drive and found Lockett over a defender from 24 yards away with 7:21 to go.
Sams was 8-for-8 passing for 93 yards and a touchdown, but the better runner of the two quarterbacks only gained 13 yards on 13 carries. Waters, regarded as the better passer, completed 10 of 13 passes for 198 yards and three scores and added 55 yards rushing. Lockett caught eight passes for 111 yards and Hubert added 84 yards rushing and his score.
"I hope that refutes the idea that Daniel cannot throw it and it refutes the idea that Jake cannot run it," Wildcats Coach Bill Snyder said. "That is what we need, a balance of what they both can do. We have addressed this many times before. They have capabilities in both segments of the game."
The Wildcats were 1-for-5 on third down in the first half and 7-for-8 in the second half, including 7-for-7 on their four straight touchdown drives. KSU had 306 yards of offense in the second half and held onto the ball for 21:27.
"When we are good, that is what we do," Snyder said. "We have not always been good."
Trickett started for the fourth straight game, but was erratic with his throws and lost two fumbles. He completed 15 of 28 passes for 227 yards and was benched in favor of Paul Millard after the second fumble.
"You've got to be able to throw to open people and complete it and Clint's not doing a good job of that and he's turning the ball over," Holgorsen said.
Millard was 4-for-14 on two drives and threw an interception on the final play of the game. Running back Charles Sims led WVU with seven receptions for 54 yards and 43 yards rushing on eight carries.
WVU (3-5, 1-3 Big 12), which lost 37-27 at home last week to Texas Tech despite leading 27-16 in the third quarter, next plays at TCU and needs to win three of the final four games to be eligible for a bowl. After the Horned Frogs, the Mountaineers play host to Texas, play at Kansas and play host to Iowa State.